I forgot about this post I had written some time ago but as I head into the busiest race season of my life it definitely has some relevance. Running the NYC Marathon on Nov 1st will mark the beginning of my 5 in 5 in 5….that’s to say 5 marathons, in 5 states, in 5 weeks. After that pretty much non-stop racing until sometime in the spring.
“I have discovered that I am not the norm when it comes to the frequency I race. If it were up to me I would be at a race every single weekend, and twice a weekend whenever possible. First of all I just love the atmosphere at events…the excitement, competition, and anticipation are all intoxicating. But over the years I have found another benefit of frequent racing: Less pressure to perform at your absolute best.
Running is a finicky sport; some days just aren’t going to go well. I have had that off day fall on a marathon I had been focused on and training for several months. It sucked. The felling of failure and let down is something I do not want to experience again. So I now I do something a little out of the ordinary: run several marathons relatively close together. I finished my racing for the the 2014-2015 season with 8 marathons in 7 months, a couple ultras, and dozens of shorter distances. It has allowed me to have a bad race day and say “okay, that was crap but I’ll do better next time” and not have to wait very long for redemption. The pressure some people (and others) put on themselves when they are 100% focused on one race is something I have found I do not like. I am much more relaxed and too low-strung to spend months or years preping for one race. You have to remember we are all human even if you do everything perfectly, the training, diet, sleep, and the million other things that go into race prep, you will have a bad day. To have nothing on the calendar for the near future to be able to look at and say “Next time, I’ll get it next time” has left me with a complete sense of failure. It seems like that whole training rotation was thrown down the drain. But with marathon the next month I’m able to stay positive and look at that botched marathon as a long training run that comes with a shirt, party, and beer. And if you do crush the marathon you had been focusing on use the second marathon as a fun run…be a pacer, run with a friend, do cartwheels, whatever, but you deserve to enjoy your accomplishment.
That being said you need to do all the prep work to make sure your body can tolerate the short recovery time in between runs. My suggestion would be to do to 20+ mile runs on successive weekends or a weekend apart. If you can handle that and feel okay the following week you should be able to knock out 2 marathons in 4 weeks. Remember always listen to your body…it knows it’s limit when your head may not.”
Still pretty much feel the same way…I LOVE racing for the people, atmosphere, and awe inspiring sense of camaraderie events provide. If you are interested in taking my “More Racing” approach to a few events this year feel free to send me a message (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’m happy to help you out with planning and prep work!